The Premier League has lived up to the hype since the start, at least for quite a few, while some have outperformed so well to evoke new expectations from their fans, others have already left their fans asking; “when does it end?” and that’s not to leave out the “déjà vu’s” and the “we’ve just been lucky’s”, we’ve not even done a quarter yet the storylines week after week remind us all of why the Premier League is the most competitive in the world. So then, a toast to matchweek 8 and all the fun, dismay, anguish, excitement and horror it will put us all through.
TIE OF THE ROUND/ GAME OF THE SEASON
“It will come down to these two” they said, they have been right, Liverpool’s start to the season was their best since 1990 when they last won the league, they won six in a row, a mightily impressive start even they wouldn’t have expected. City on the other hand have been equally as impressive especially for a team that lost its best player from last season, the genius of Pep then, no surprises there.
Peps genius will be needed against Klopp this weekend again although it has barely come into fruition against the Reds in recent times, Liverpool in their games against City last season showed us all how to beat the Cityzens and beat them well. In four meetings between them Klopp’s side came out with three victories, that first half at Anfield last season will be what Liverpool will look to replicate: a scintillating display of hardwork, tactics and total team effort as it was.
Liverpool fell victim to Napoli in midweek, a game which saw Liverpool lose another in three and thereby spark questions of whether the famed front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino are losing their spark. That run of fixtures which saw the Reds play Chelsea twice before going to Naples have certainly taken something out of them and so you’d think that even at Anfield City are probably favourites.
Man City themselves had to labour in Germany against TSG Hoffenheim as they went down by a goal under just two minutes, David Silva eventually scored the winner after Aguero had leveled up, but perhaps in a starting lineup that saw Sane, Sterling and Aguero in action it will be interesting to see which team Pep selects on Sunday
Klopp says Naby Keita “had a back spasm. We have to wait, It didn’t look too serious, but we will have to see”, that essentially casts doubt on whether he even gets to start. Kevin DeBruyne returned to training over the week but may not be fit enough to start. City have good news with regards to injuries as Benjamin Mendy and Ilkay Gundogan are “ok” says Pep.
The Injuries won’t take the glamour out of the tie though, the array of stars and their quality will ensure that this match will once again live up to the billing as it always has and we are ready for it.
A CHANCE TO BOUNCE BACK
Tottenham lost in midweek to Barcelona and although they scored twice the result at the end was quite flattering, even for them, a Lionel Messi masterclass put them to the sword reminding them that they are still a long way off of Europe’s elite.
Cardiff City at Wembley will present a perfect opportunity for them to bounce back, they are heavily depleted at the moment yes, Dembele, Alli, Vertonghen and Eriksen may be out but you’d think they should have enough to get past a team who’ve yet to pick up a win and have only scored twice while shipping in sixteen.
Harry Kane looked in inspired form against Barcelona, so did Harry Winks, Erik Lamela and Toby Alderweireld you can’t say same for the likes of Kieran Trippier and Hugo Lloris though, Mauricio Pochetino has already described the fixture schedule as “unfair”, you can sympathize but that’s just how it is, they should get the job done on Saturday.
WORTHY CONTENDERS YET?
Chelsea showed everyone just how good they are and can be over the course of the last week, they came up against Liverpool twice and didn’t lose, knocking them out of the Carabao Cup and picking up a draw against them in the Premier League. Let’s not forget they a game still haven’t lost a game this season, so it’s not surprising that game after game their fans are beginning to realign their expectations of the team, you must admit they are not deluded to do so.
Sunday will see the blues travel to the St. Mary’s against a Southampton side whose form has been disappointing to say the least they’ve won only once this season and lost their last two. With Eden Hazard in inspired form Chelsea walk into the game as heavy favourites and it’s a place they’ve found a lot of joy over the years, the Blues have managed six straight wins in all competitions against the Saints. You can’t help but think it will be one of those easy wins for Chelsea yet again.
Chelsea have Pedro back from injury so you’d think he will get the nod over Willian who captained Chelsea in the Europa League on Thursday. For Southampton Shane Long looks doubtful after picking up another injury with his toe but that shouldn’t be a problem as Danny Ings and Charlie Austin are fit.
WHAT NEXT FOR JOSE AND UNITED?
Man United’s problems have been well documented this season, some predicted it, you have to give it to them but it’s not funny anymore especially for the United faithful. The buildup to Valencia in midweek brought up a lot of stories of what could have been the final straw if indeed they had lost again, Jose has however said he doesn’t fear for his job something that has received a lot of mixed reactions across board. United didn’t lose against Valencia but as in many of their games this season the narrative was the same, clueless, soulless and flat.
They face Newcastle next who themselves could be perfectly described by the above adjectives a team that has also failed to deliver they languish in 18th and without a win and having to go play in a city where they’ve won only twice in their last 42 be it against Red or Blue.
Newcastle will harbour a glimmer of hope that they can cause an upset of West Ham proportions that will mean pandemonium for United but hey they are already living in it aren’t they?
WINNING WITH… NOT EASE?
Arsenal have managed 8 wins in a row in all competitions, it’s been quite a while since that happened especially after losing their first two matches of the season albeit against title favourites Man City and Chelsea. Arsenal now sit in fifth only four points off the top ad with Liverpool and City facing off this weekend there is a chance that they could potentially be just one point off either of the two heading into the international break.
However, even from many Arsenal fans themselves there’s that sense of “we’re not quite there yet” whenever Arsenal have played, the team still looks like a work in progress certainly but you can only beat what’s in front of you however ugly you do it and the Gunners are showing that this season, a trait they’ve lacked in times past.
Fulham will present a peculiar kind of challenge, they are a team that likes to play football even against the bigger sides and that won’t change on Sunday. Aleksandr Mitrovic looks in fine form this term bagging five from seven already so it won’t be that suicidal to have a go at Arsenal who have themselves only kept two clean sheets this term.
Bernd Leno will start since Cech is set to be out for quite a while and Unai Emery says the two absentees from Arsenal’s Europa League game; Aaron Ramsey and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will feature so it’s looking like a full house for the gunners come Sunday.